Zella’s Icing






This icing frosted my childhood.  My grandmother, Gizella Bodnar Kozusko, used it on each birthday cake and sugar cut-out; it was her frosting of choice for nearly every treat that required, or could simply benefit from, an icing.

Zella was born in Budapest and came to the United States when she was about seven years old; she and my grandpap, Andy, lived conveniently five doors down from my childhood home.  Much of what I learned about baking, I learned from Zella; she was the primary baker in our family, the one who made the birthday cakes, the holiday treats, the desserts for every day.  No visit to their house was complete without a cupcake, cookie, Rice Krispie treat, slice of nut roll, or other confection from her many recipe boxes.

This recipe can be very easily doubled or tripled, when necessary.  It is a sturdy frosting that holds up well for decorating cakes.


  • 1 egg white
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1-2 teaspoons water


Combine egg white, shortening, salt, and one cup powdered sugar in a mixing bowl.  Beat on low speed until combined, then increase speed to medium, then high, and beat for one minute.

Add additional cup powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed for one minute.

Add vanilla and almond extracts.  Beat on high speed for one or two minutes, until very well combined.

Check the frosting’s texture; it should be like very, very soft peanut butter and very easily spreadable.  If necessary, add one to two teaspoons of water to thin the frosting and beat well to combine.

Note: when doubling or tripling the recipe, it’s very important to beat the mixture well after each addition of powdered sugar, then for a few minutes after the additions of extract and water.